Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
– Albert Einstein
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
– George Bernard Shaw
In an article at Ars Technica, Trent Reznor is said to have called Radiohead’s internet-only release of In Rainbows “insincere.”:
“I think the way [Radiohead] parlayed it into a marketing gimmick has certainly been shrewd,” Reznor said when speaking to Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Michael Atkin. “But if you look at what they did, though, it was very much a bait and switch to get you to pay for a MySpace-quality stream as a way to promote a very traditional record sale.”
Reznor’s offering, of course, is the Nine Inch Nails 4-part instrumental album called Ghosts I-IV, released in a variety of high-quality formats (including vinyl!) and bundled with artwork and other goodies, all done without any marketing or record label.
“The level of ineptitude I’ve seen at the major labels is stunning,” Reznor points out. Yet Radiohead, arguably the most powerful band in the world, still prefers to rely on labels when all is said and done, even when there’s no real benefit for doing so. Habit? Comfort? Lazyness? Maybe. Here’s the crux of the thing: Freedom is scary, and most people don’t prefer it. Artists are waiting for the next “record label” solution to this business of music because it is a more safe, reliable formula. Much like getting up, putting on a suit and tie, and going to work every day. It’s comforting, predictable, and safe.
Rockstars my ass.